Itching to do it

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Squibnocket
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Joined: 24 May 2010, 9:56pm
Location: Leek, Staffordshire

Itching to do it

Postby Squibnocket » 24 Feb 2020, 9:07pm

I'm itching to do my first short bike tour 3/4 nights over the Easter weekend from Rotterdam, heading towards Ghent, Roubaix and back to Rotterdam.
Is April to early to try my hand ie cold wet etc or should I just go for it.? A good friend of mine has suggested it probably is.

whoof
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Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 2:13pm

Re: Itching to do it

Postby whoof » 24 Feb 2020, 9:25pm

Last April I rode after work, had a Chinese takeaway and camped in a small woodland with a 2 season sleeping bag under a small tarpaulin. Next day I cycled back to where I'm originally from which took about 14 hours. It was shorts and short sleeved top weather with the temperature in the mid-twenties.
I've toured in August and been wearing every item of clothing I had with me and been happy to visit a museum for no other reason than to warm up.
In Northern Europe it can be cold and wet at any time of year but can also be dry and relatively warm any time from March to the end of September.

yutkoxpo
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Re: Itching to do it

Postby yutkoxpo » 24 Feb 2020, 10:52pm

It can be (very) cold and wet at that time of year, mind you, it can also be very pleasant.
What's relevant is your own experience in cycling in poor weather, your accomodation options and the flexibility of your route.
It's a hell of a lot easier to get through a tough day when you know a warm hotel room is waiting as opposed to a soggy campsite!
Similarly, if you're flexible and can wait out showers or other bad weather as opposed to ploughing on regardless, you can have an enjoyable tour.

If you really are itching to do it and you have no other window of opportunity, I'd say do it! At worst, you may be uncomfortable, but it can still be a good tour.

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Itching to do it

Postby Tigerbiten » 24 Feb 2020, 11:19pm

I tended to start my long summer tours around the start of april.
The weather that early could be shirt sleeves during the day and sub-zero at night or just plain wet and windy all the time.
As long as you have a good bail plan if the weather gets too bad, then go for it.

Luck .............. :D

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horizon
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Re: Itching to do it

Postby horizon » 24 Feb 2020, 11:52pm

HobbesOnTour wrote:It can be (very) cold and wet at that time of year, mind you, it can also be very pleasant.
What's relevant is your own experience in cycling in poor weather, your accomodation options and the flexibility of your route.


+ 1. April can be very hard to call though for a short trip, weather forecasts a day or two before should be quite accurate. I would say plan for winter conditions in terms of clothing and accommodation but prepare to be pleasantly surprised. I would be wearing winter-weight long tights with a pair of shorts in the pannier. If you aren't happy with the weather now, then you might struggle in April. If you're cycling now, even just a commute, then April should be fine (if not the weather).
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Oldjohnw
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Re: Itching to do it

Postby Oldjohnw » 25 Feb 2020, 2:41am

I camp roughly between clock changes. But whenever you go you need to have appropriate clothing/kit. Anything can come.
John

tatanab
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Re: Itching to do it

Postby tatanab » 25 Feb 2020, 7:14am

You do not say if this will be hotels, B&B, hostels or camping. In my early touring days, my local group ALWAYS went on tour at every bank holiday, including Christmas. Just be equipped with suitable clothing. We used youth hostels.

bikepacker
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Re: Itching to do it

Postby bikepacker » 25 Feb 2020, 9:07am

This was an April camp near Stafford: Image

On the other hand I have had some fantastic cycle camping weather in April. The Low Countries can be very nice in April especially some of the bulb fields in Holland.
There is your way. There is my way. But there is no "the way".

hamster
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Re: Itching to do it

Postby hamster » 25 Feb 2020, 10:39am

I have done a fair few at that time of year in France and also incidentally round Ghent and Lille. Plan flexibly for the weather, but could be very enjoyable. I had a fab ride in Normandy a few years ago - it was close to freezing and windy. We took extra clothing, in particular down jackets which we put on the moment we dismounted. We had a whale of a time, in particular riding back to Ouistreham with a half gale on our backs!

skelo
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Re: Itching to do it

Postby skelo » 26 Feb 2020, 11:17am

weather likely to be the same as UK. you are only going for 3/4 days so you can look at the forecast before you set off and decide on clothing based on temp. take your wet weather gear whatever the forecast! We cycled there in July last year. Day 1 we were soaked to the skin and freezing. By day 4 it was 42C we were dry but in need of our rehydration tabs! You are never going to know for certain so just go for it!!

mattheus
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Re: Itching to do it

Postby mattheus » 26 Feb 2020, 1:05pm

hamster wrote:We took extra clothing, in particular down jackets which we put on the moment we dismounted. We had a whale of a time, in particular riding back to Ouistreham with a half gale on our backs!


You've just reminded me of my top-tip for touring in "off-seasons"; bring enough clothes to queue for the ferry - it WILL be cold, it WILL be windy, and they WILL make you wait somewhere exposed (especially if you're Q-ing after dark for the night crossing.)

iandriver
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Re: Itching to do it

Postby iandriver » 26 Feb 2020, 8:11pm

Funny enough, off season I find the need for cycle specific base layers greatly decreases. At the 6 days of Ghent last year, I bought a couple of polar necked light jumpers. They were great to cycle in and were most civilsed in the bars as one passed the long dark evenings with nothing but a book and a bar tender.

If your itching to go, just do it. They have trains over there. You won't die.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

botty
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Re: Itching to do it

Postby botty » 26 Feb 2020, 8:30pm

Do it. See how you go, cut it short if it does not work out. What have you lost?

DanZac
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Re: Itching to do it

Postby DanZac » 26 Feb 2020, 9:29pm

bikepacker wrote:This was an April camp near Stafford: Image

On the other hand I have had some fantastic cycle camping weather in April. The Low Countries can be very nice in April especially some of the bulb fields in Holland.


Why oh why did I have to come on here and see that, my feet are itchy enough as it is and I think that you might have just pushed me over the edge!

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Graham
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Re: Itching to do it

Postby Graham » 26 Feb 2020, 10:04pm

If you liked Backpacker's snowy challenge then have a read of this one . . . ..

We warned him NOT to do it . . . . but then he went and had a great time . . . Photos : https://www.flickr.com/photos/139077418@N05/
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